House leader defends Arroyo after finance chief's remarks

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2018 06:47 PM

MANILA - House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. on Friday rebutted Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez who alluded to the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for alleged mishandling of financing from China.

In a speech on Thursday, Dominguez said the Duterte administration will not fall into a "debt trap" with China because it has "learned much from a previous administration’s scandalous mismanagement of Chinese financing."

"If it was really that such a bad experience, why is the Chinese government still offering projects to the Philippines? Kung nadala sila dahil napakasama ng implementa o nagkaroon ng kalokohan man lang, bakit nila uulitin?" Andaya said.

"This is new, iba na ang [Chinese] premiere ngayon compared nung panahon ni GMA--independent, iba pag-iisip nito and yet I think the good relationship, good memories, good performance (are) still there. Kaya mas malaki ino-offer doon baka naman 'di ganun ang naging expeirence ng ating gobynero."

Speaking before a business forum, Dominguez did not mention which administration he was referring to, but alluded to the term of the former President and incumbent House Speaker.

"During that time, the previous leadership allowed Chinese state-owned enterprises to dictate what projects will be undertaken here. I don’t have to mention the names. I’ll just mention some initials. ZTE, for instance," he said.

Chinese telecommunications company ZTE was tapped for the proposed government-managed National Broadband Network, but Arroyo cancelled the deal following the emergence of alleged irregularities.

The Sandiganbayan dismissed the corruption case filed against Arroyo and her husband over that scandal.

Arroyo has been rumored to be a potential replacement to Dominguez as the country’s top economic manager when her speakership ends next year.